One of the wildest weekends on the Verizon IndyCar Series Calendar began on Friday. Teams began preparation for Saturday night’s DXC Technology 600 with a 90-minute practice session.
When all was said and done, Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ Robert Wickens and A.J. Foyt Racing’s Tony Kanaan came out on top. Wickens, the Sunoco Rookie of the Year leader had a best lap of 220.014 MPH in his Dallara-Honda entry.
Kanaan ran an identical lap to Wickens and was the fastest Chevrolet entry in the field. Kanaan and Wickens were the only two to run above 220 MPH, while the 2004 Texas winner posted the best trap speed (225.129 MPH).
Sebastien Bourdais (Dale Coyne Racing with Vasser Sullivan), Alexander Rossi (Andretti Autosport) and Gabby Chaves (Harding Racing) rounded out the top five, with Honda taking three of the spots.
The best no-tow speed was set by 2008 and 2015 Texas winner Scott Dixon, who clocked a best lap at 218.588 MPH in his Dallara-Honda. Honda drivers took four of the top five spots on the no-tow charts, which could mean the engine manufacturer has the advantage heading into qualifying this afternoon.
At the beginning of the session, 30 minutes were dedicated to drivers getting their tires scuffed for the. rest of the weekend. With a new speedway aero kit that produces significantly less downforce and new Firestone compound for the event, much has been made about tire management for the 248-lap race.
Friday’s first practice did not come without its share of issues early on for some of the drivers. Both Max Chilton (Carlin Racing) and Zachary Claman De Melo (Dale Coyne Racing) experienced throttle issues early on.
Claman De Melo needed a tow-in after throttle sensor issues. After pitting to remedy those concerns, Chilton and Claman De Melo were able to continue on later in the session.
The hectic nature of the session was reflected in how much practice the teams got in. Schmidt Peterson Motorsports’ James Hinchcliffe and A.J. Foyt Racing’s Matheus Leist were on track for 79 laps, the most of any driver. Andretti Autosport’s Ryan Hunter-Reay ran the fewest of the practice, clocking in just 43 laps.
All 22 drivers in the session were separated by .9201 seconds and each driver ran a lap above the 210 MPH mark. Up next for the Verizon IndyCar Series is single-car qualifying at 4:00 Eastern time (two laps, quickest full run gets pole). Final practice will be at 7:15 Eastern and the green flag is set for 8:40 Eastern tomorrow night.
Stay with Open-Wheels throughout the weekend for coverage of the DXC Technology 600.
Image courtesy of Chris Owens/INDYCAR Media